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Weekly Chizuk

Ikvese d'Moshiach

The Footsteps of the Moshiach

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach; and even though he may delay, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming. (Rambam, 13 Principles, #12)

The Chofetz Chaim was famous for his deep emunah in the coming of the Moshiach. He had a special Shabbos suit put aside to wear when the Moshiach comes. Once he was seen walking up and down the stairs. When asked about this, he replied, "I'm a Cohen. I'm practicing for the avoda in the Beis Hamikdash when the Moshiach comes."

His son, Reb Leib, used to tell over that when the English announced the Balfour Declaration regarding the Jewish return to the Land of Israel, the Chofetz Chaim saw in this a sign from above that Heaven was preparing the Geula. However, he said that he was afraid that the secularists might ruin it, chas v'shalom. Many times in the past the time was ripe, but the people in the generation ruined it.

Once the Chofetz Chaim was heard expressing his aggravation regarding the leftist factions in Eretz Yisroel. "Is it possible that anything good can come from these people? How can the Shechina come down and rest on something they established?" When he was shown a newspaper where one of their journalists wrote that it's possible to be a good Jew without the Torah, the Chofetz Chaim wrote a long rebuttal to be published all over. "The existence of Yisroel depends upon the Torah, not on a country or a language! If we don't keep the Torah the medina and the language won't save us!" (Chofetz Chaim on the Torah, Parshas Bo)

It has been reported that a businessman went to Rav Chaim Kanievsky a few weeks ago and asked for a bracha for his upcoming trip to the US. Rav Chaim is reported as commenting, "What! Do you want to miss the Moshiach?" Whether this is true or not is questionable. But the fact that so many comments are being reported from Rav Chaim's house regarding the Moshiach should arouse us to do teshuva.

The famous gemara in Sanhendrin describes the coming of the Moshiach:

Rabi Yochanan said, Ben David will only come in a generation which is totally worthy, or a generation which is totally guilty. Rabi Alexandri in the name of Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi asked a contradiction in possukim. One possuk states "in its time." And another possuk states, "I will hurry it up." It means that if they merit, "I will hurry it up." But if they don't merit, he will come "in its time." Sanhedrin 98a

This tells us that the Geula can come in one of two fashions. Either because of the merit of the righteousness of Yisrael. Then they will rightfully deserve the Geula (as indicated by the Yehoshua ben Levi's use of the word "merit"). There is no set time for this. Whenever they are worthy, the Geula will come.1

The other way is that the Geula will come purely out of Heaven's mercy upon us in spite of the fact that Yisrael is not worthy. But then it will come "in its time." That will be at the final hour which is the set time for this historical event in the Divine Plan.

The gemara continues: Rabi Alexandri in the name of Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi asked a contradiction: In one possuk it states, "I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming" (Doniel 7:13). And in another possuk it states, "A poor man, and riding a donkey" (Zecharia 9:9).

The Ohr HaChaim (Bemidbar 24:16) tells us that this means that if Klal Yisrael merit the Geula in a "hurried" fashion because of their merits, then it will come like the "clouds of Heaven," with miracles and wonders, just like the Exodus from Mitzrayim. However, if the Geula comes in spite of the sins and lowly status of Klal Yisroel, it will come like "a poor man riding a donkey." A donkey in Hebrew is a chamur , which indicates materialism . The Geula will come slowly and in a natural fashion.

Then the Ohr HaChaim makes a remarkable statement. If the Geula comes at the final time indicating that Klal Yisroel have not improved themselves to be worthy, then the Geula will come because of the Tzaddikim in the generation. This last statement needs clarification. According to the gemara above, "at its time" the Moshiach will come even in a generation which is totally unworthy.

Rav Moshe Cordevero, the famous Ramak, described the era called "in its time." He wrote, Whether they merit or not, whether they are worthy or not, whether they did teshuva or not, now he will come. The coming of the Moshiach at that time is not dependent on merit. However their merits will help them. If they merit, they will see the Geula. But if they do not meit they will be lost from the congregation. This is the reason for the Chevlei Moshiach (the birth pangs of the Moshiach). These are the turmoils and torments brought on Klal Yisroel to turn their hearts to teshuva so they can inherit the Geula and the world should not be destroyed because of the fools.

This is a shocking statement. We are on the threshold of the coming of the Moshiach. That is evident. But not everyone will merit seeing it. It will be a time of turmoil and upheaval and many will leave the fold. But those who remain strong will receive a special assistance from above and they will merit seeing the Geula.

The holy seforim write that these days at the end of time are days of "birurim" when the worthy are separated from the unworthy. They are tumultuous times. The possuk says about this time period, I will hide and hide my face. It isn't bad enough that Hashem goes into hiding, but he has to double the concealment! This means that throughout the generation of the Golus, Hashem was in hiding. However, in spite of this, we sensed His presence. We saw the Hashgacha Pratis with us throughout the bitter Golus.

At that time at the end of days, however, Hashem will be hiding to such an extent no one will see Him. That will be a terrible time when we will feel totally abandoned.

The Brisker Rav commented. It's not true. Yes, there will be a time of total concealment. But if a person hunts and searches, he will see that Hashem is with him in his Golus. Hashem never leaves us and if we look we can see the Hashgacha Pratis constantly.

A recent newspaper trumpeted a remarkable statement from Hamas. One of the terrorists from Gaza was asked why they kept missing. Couldn't they aim their rockets more effectively: "We do aim them, but their G-d changes their path in mid-air."

There is a story making the rounds which appeared recently in an Israeli newspaper:

More claims of Divine intervention are being reported in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, with an operator of Israel's Iron Dome missile-defense system saying he personally witnessed "the hand of G-d" diverting an incoming rocket out of harm's way.

Israel Today translated a report from a Hebrew-language news site, which noted the Iron Dome battery failed three times to intercept an incoming rocket headed toward Tel Aviv last week.

The commander recalled: "A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel's equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.

"We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. A second [interceptor] was fired. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified the emergency services (Magen David Edom) to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.

Is G-d actually fighting for Israel in this conflict, he wondered?

"Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) showed a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that sent the missile into the Mediterranean Sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, 'There is a G-d!'

"I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of G-d send that missile into the sea."

In order to prepare for Moshiach we have to be ready or we won't see him.

Ein Od Milvado!

Wishing everyone a Gut Shabbos!

1. We say in Shemone Esre, "Who will bring a redeemer to the children of their children for the sake of His Name in love." This statement is discussing the Geula of "in its time." At the end of days, Klal Yisroel will not have sufficient merits to bring about the Geula. Therefore, it will take place solely for the sake of His Name which has been desecrated by the goyim. The question is, if so, that Yisroel is not worthy of the Geula why does He bring it "with love"?

Rav Elchanan Wasserman (Kovetz Maamarim p. 334) writes, The Geula (being discussed here) will take place for the sake of His Name which has been desecrated by the goyim. The Geula will not be in the merit of Yisroel. A flesh and blood person when he has promised his friend to do him a favor, and then the friend turned against him, the person doesn't want to back out of his promise. However, he feels some resentment in his heart against him. So when he does him the favor, it isn't whole-heartedly. The ways of Hakadosh Baruch Hu are different. Even though Klal Yisroel will not merit the Geula, and Hashem has to fulfill His promise and bring the redemption only for the sake of His Name, still the Geula will be with "Love" as if Klal Yisroel on their own merited being redeemed."

The golus of Haman and the Nazis were of a different nature than Golus Edom. Haman and the Nazis were from Amalek who wants to eradicate the Jews from the face of the earth.

This explains the difference between Chanukah and Purim. During the time of Purim the danger was physical. They realized they had sinned and so their main efforts were directed toward tefilla and teshuva. During Chanuka, however, it was not a physical battle, but rather a spiritual battle as the Greeks wanted to Hellenize the Jews. Therefore they recognized that this was an act of the Satan and the response was to go to war with total self-sacrifice.

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
Tel: 732-858-1257
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
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